What are Indefinite Pronouns

What are Indefinite Pronouns

A pronoun is a word that is used to substitute a noun. An indefinite pronoun is a pronoun that refers to unspecified people, objects, or places. Like other types of pronouns, indefinite pronouns also replace nouns. Every, each, all, some, several, enough, anybody, everyone, everything, neither, either, many, much, none, etc. are some examples of indefinite pronouns.

Most indefinite pronouns are singular or plural. But some of them can be singular or plural depending on the context.

Singular indefinite pronouns: another, anybody, anyone, anything, each, either, everybody, everyone, everything, little, much, neither, nobody, no one, nothing, one, other, somebody, someone, something

Plural indefinite pronouns: both, few, many, several, etc.

Singular or plural indefinite pronouns: all, any, more, most, none, some

Many indefinite pronouns are singular. Therefore, the verbs and other pronouns that follow them should also be in the singular form.

Either option has its advantages.

Everything happens for a reason.

Note how the singular pronouns are followed by singular verbs and other personal pronouns.

Everyone is busy.

Everyone is busy.

Examples of Indefinite Pronouns

Given below are some examples of indefinite pronouns. (Underlined)

No one wants to hear about your tragic life story.

He told me something, but I didn’t hear him because of the wind.

He doesn’t know much about music, but he knew all about acting.

Please take some. Your plate is empty.

Both told the truth, but none believed them.

Someone stole her car and replaced it with another.

They looked at one another, neither spoke.

All believed that he was dead; everyone was shocked to see him.

He knew nothing about raising sheep.

It is important to note that although some pronouns such as all, any, some, each, any, etc. function as indefinite pronouns, they can also function as indefinite adjectives. That is, they are used as adjectives to modify nouns. Note how these words function in the following sentence pairs.

Ex: 1

All students must submit the final project before 12th December 2016. – Indefinite adjective

All respected and admired him. – Indefinite pronoun

Ex: 2

Please leave some for my brother.- Indefinite pronoun

Please leave some chocolates for my brother.- Indefinite adjective

Ex: 3

Any child will tell you who the most powerful person in the school is. – Indefinite adjective

Anyone will tell you who the most powerful person in the school is.- Indefinite pronoun

Ex: 4

Many participate in the competition, but few are chosen for the final round.- Indefinite pronoun

Many people participate in the competition, but few people are chosen for the final round. – Indefinite adjective

Indefinite Pronouns – Summary

  • Indefinite pronouns are pronouns that refer to unspecified people, objects, or places.
  • They can be either singular or plural; some can be singular or plural depending on the context.
  • Many indefinite pronouns are singular.
  • Some indefinite pronouns also act as indefinite adjectives.

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